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  1. #1

    Default Child is Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Texas

    So my highly contested and expensive divorce case finished up in January of this year. The ex got custody because she is the mom. She also had an attorney that I was required to pay for that would not give up until I gave in to her demands.
    Since the case has been finalized, my ex has allowed my child to either miss or be tardy for 34 days out of the last 3 months. All but 1 of them are being reported as excused absences. I checked with the school and the ex has been writing her notes every day. When I ask my child about it, she says that nobody every wakes her up in the morning (she is 12). When she gets up on her own, everyone in the house is still asleep and will not get up to take her to school. My child is failing all of her classes with grades between a low of 25 and a high of 67. Overall for the school year, they are reporting 126 days in attendance, 87 excused absences and 3 unexcused absences. 14 are state reported and there are 35 tardies.

    What should my next step be as the non-custodial parent. My child has said she wants to live with me, but when she tells her mother, she is intimidated into not saying anything. How soon can I take her back to court as an unfit parent? Do I need to start at the school or somewhere else like CPS?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,683

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    So, there is no school bus for the child to catch? A 12 year old is certainly old enough to take responsibility for getting themselves up and ready in the morning and for catching the school bus. If there is no school bus then she is certainly old enough to wake her mother up to take her to school.

    You also can run by mom's house in the morning and pick up the child and take her to school if there is no one else available and no bus. Your court order isn't even 90 days old yet, and its likely that school would be out for the semester before you could get anything back in court anyway. You need immediate action for the child's sake so you need to think outside the box.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2014
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    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    The child is old enough to wake up, get dressed, fix breakfast and get herself off to school by herself. She might not want to do these things on her own. But, she had to learn people have to do things they don't want to do. It is part of life

    Why is there no bus transportation ? If the school is too close to home. She can walk to school.

    Have you discussed this situation with your ex? If not, you need to Today. It sounds like your daughter will have to repeat her current grade due to failing. Even if she was passing having being absent without an excuse more than the allowed number of days. Would result in her having to repeat the grade

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    If your expectation is that this is going to give you some kind of leverage to change the current custody situation, you need to amend your expectations.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    835

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    I agree with LL. My daughter is 6 and wakes up to an alarm every morning while I am in the shower. Her clothes are laid out the night before and she gets herself ready in the morning without my help except for her hair. She is even able to fix her own breakfast on days that I have to be to work early and we are rushed. If the bus is not an option, can you or someone else get her to school on time? I am not saying there should not be repercussions for mom, however, this is more about your daughter and doing what is best for her immediately before addressing the long term. The first thing I would do is get her an alarm clock and look into a tutor since she is failing school. Perhaps counseling would also be beneficial if the poor grades are due to unresolved feelings about the divorce. Calling her nightly, and making sure her homework is done too. It is hard to blame mom, if you haven't exhausted every option to try to help.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    I agree that she is old enough to do these things on her own. Unfortunately, I have no control as to what happens at her moms house. I have spoken with her mom and she says when she trys to wake her up in the mornings, she refuses to wake up, kicking and screaming. My daughter tells me that everyone in the house sleeps in every day (older siblings, mom and grandparents, nobody in the house works. They all receive government assistance or other handouts). I suspect its a combination of both. I know that my daughter does fight when trying to wake her up in the morning, I have seen it. That does not negate my ex's responsibility to get her to school. She is a minor child and per Texas law, it is her mothers responsibility to get her to school.

    Parent Contributing to Nonattendance: TEC; 25.093
    If a parent fails to require the child to attend school, the School Attendance Officer shall warn the parent in writing that attendance is immediately demanded. If, after that warning, the parent fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, and the child has an absence, the Attendance Officer may submit a complaint against the parent to the Truant Conduct Prosecutor in a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located. Charges are not filed against children under the age of 12, only their parents. An offense under this section is a Misdemeanor.


    The law doesn't say there is an exception if the child is difficult to wake up.

    There is no bus that runs near the house and the school is just over 2 miles away. The buses only run to the apartment complexes and there are none near the house. I would have no problem picking her up and taking her in the morning, however it still comes down to someone needing to insure she is awake and ready in the mornings. She will not wake up on her own. That has been proven over and over. I am also not going to be allowed to go into my ex's parents house and get my daughter ready in the mornings. They just don't answer the door. That is just not a realistic scenario for me. It was and still is a very ugly divorce.

    I am quite certain she will be required to repeat her current grade. All 87 of her absences are excused with only 3 unexcused, but her failing grades will keep her back if nothing else. Shouldn't my ex have been referred to truancy court by now? Can I contact them or CPS to have someone take action against her? She fought for over a year and it cost me over $200k. I intend to hold her responsible for her actions.

    I only have her 3 weekends per month. The other days are out of my control.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    493

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    Under what grounds are 87 absences being considered excused? I read through some Texas education law, and it has pretty narrow guidelines for what qualifies as an excused absence. It also says a child must attend 90% of the year to pass. If she has already missed 87 school days, this was obviously going on well before your divorce, so how were you not aware of it or why didn't you address it then?

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    299

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    Quote Quoting PMMH
    View Post
    I'm also confused about the child being in school over 200 days this year already. A child would have to go to school every single day from August until today to go that many days.
    Maybe the 126 days is the number of days that the school has been in session so far during the 2017-2018 school year? But that would mean that OP's daughter was not tardy or absent exactly one day of the whole school year so far (87 excused absences + 3 unexcused absences + 35 tardies = 125 days absent or tardy).

  9. #9
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    Jun 2014
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    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    Have you called your daughters school district about a school bus picking her up ?

    Your daughter might have a sleep disorder ? Or she might be depressed. She could also have inattentive ADD. Not being able to wake up in the morning is a common symptom. Other kids could be bullying her. You need to talk to her teachers and school counselor. I agree she needs counseling by a private counselor. She also needs a complete physical by her pediatrician.

    What were her grades and school attendance like before the divorce ?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Child Missing Excessive Amounts of School and Failing After Divorce

    Not sure if I should start another thread on this or not, but since it is related, I will pick it up here. Still the same situation as last year with no change. I do live some distance away from my daughter. For me to get her to school in the morning would require me to drive 45 minutes and pick her up by 6:40, drop her off at 6:45, then drive over an hour back to work to be there at 8:00. This would cost a significant amount of gas, not to mention over $25 in tolls per day, probably close to $1000 extra a month that I just don't have.

    So last year, despite having over 117 partial missed days or missed classes, she was able to pass because they were mostly labeled as excused. This year is about the same so far with 91 partial missed days or missed classes. Her grades for band, theatre etc are great. Her actual stem classes are all ranging from 50-72.

    Her mother not only takes her to school late in the mornings, but she also removes her from school early for various reasons that are convieneint to her. She also pulls her out and writes her a note whenever my daughter texts her and simply ask to be taken out.

    Yes, I am hoping to use this as leverage towards changing the custody situation. My duaghter has told me that she would strongly prefer living with me to get away from the verbal abuse she faces living with her grandparents, mom and mom's bf, sister, aunt and uncle and 3 cousins all in the same 3 bedroom house. She has expressed this to both her private counselor as well as myself and other people in my family. Her mom bought her a hunting knife which she has been using to cut her arms with. The knife was not taken away to my knowledge. The counselor strongly recommended to me and her mother that she be allowed to spend the entire summer break with me. This was of course rejected by her mother. My daughter has also told me that she would like to talk to the judge and let him know what she wants.

    I would like to attempt to file for custody over the summer vacation and hopefully have her in school near my house by next year. I have been looking into what the requirements and forms are for this. If anyone has any recommendations for where to start on getting templates for the motion to modify and any other forms I will need along with the steps I need to take, it will be greatly appreciated.

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
    View Post
    Have you called your daughters school district about a school bus picking her up ?

    Your daughter might have a sleep disorder ? Or she might be depressed. She could also have inattentive ADD. Not being able to wake up in the morning is a common symptom. Other kids could be bullying her. You need to talk to her teachers and school counselor. I agree she needs counseling by a private counselor. She also needs a complete physical by her pediatrician.

    What were her grades and school attendance like before the divorce ?

    The bus picking her up will not help if she is not awake and dressed to get on it. I am sure she has all the above in regards to being depressed and ADD/ADHD. Her mom bought her a hunting knife which she has been using to cut her arms with. The knife was not taken away to my knowledge. She does not wake up because she is up all night playing on her phone or a computer. She is bullied at school. Her mom is a helicopter parent and is at the school constantly, "volunteering" to work in the office or around the school. My daughter gets caught up in all the drama from who is trying to destroy who and which mom is dating another moms bf or whatever. I have spoken with the teachers and counselor. They say she needs to be in school and stop missing so much class or she will fail. She is frequently in the school counselors office, at least once per week, because of some type of drama.
    Last week, The private counselor strongly recommended to me and her mother that she be allowed to spend the entire summer break with me. This was of course rejected by her mother.

    During the divorce, the private counselor testified that my daughter told her she was abused by her mother and should be allowed to live with me.

    Her grades before the divorce were mostly B's with some A's and an occasional C.

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